A man led Houston police on a chase Thursday that ended with him wounding three officers in a shootout, stealing a car and barricading himself in a house, authorities said.
The incident began about 2:40 p.m. Central time on Thursday as officers were called to a house in northeast Houston regarding a family disturbance, Police Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference.
All three of the injured officers were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Two of the officers were driven there in another patrol officer's vehicle, and the other was taken by the Houston Fire Department. One officer was shot in the arm, another in the leg and the third in the foot, said Doug Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union.
"We are just grateful to God they are all right," Finner said.
Police had responded to a report of a shooting at the home of the man's girlfriend, according to Griffith. When officers arrived, the man, whose name has not been released by authorities, fled in a car and led police on a chase for several miles. The chase ended when the fleeing car crashed at an intersection in a residential area just off Interstate 69 on the southeastern edge of downtown Houston.
"Officers as they got out of vehicle, the suspect immediately fired upon officers, striking three officers. All the officers returned fire," Finner said.
It was not known if the man was injured by the officers' gunfire. Finner said it is possible that he fired more than 50 rounds.
Officers described the gun the man used as "a fully automatic weapon," he said. He fled and carjacked a white Mercedes-Benz, Finner said. He then drove to a house several miles northeast of where the crash occurred.
Officers surrounded the house. The man inside fired multiple times but did not hit any of the officers, who returned fire, Finner said.
The suspect remained barricaded in the house Thursday evening and police were negotiating to get him out, Finner said. Houston police said SWAT and hostage negotiation teams were there. The man was believed to be the only person in the house. It was not immediately known why he went there, Finner said.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said he visited the wounded officers and they were talkative and in good spirits. Turner said Thursday's shooting highlighted the dangers law enforcement face each day and the rising violent crime that has affected Houston and other U.S. cities the last couple of years.
Finner said it has been "a tough week for law enforcement" in Houston. On Sunday, a Houston-area deputy constable was fatally shot during a traffic stop and a Harris County sheriff's deputy was fatally struck by a vehicle early Monday as he stood beside his motorcycle while blocking a Houston highway exit ramp during an off-duty job escorting heavy machinery.
A Houston police dog was injured after he was stabbed by a man following an attempted carjacking. Turner said he and Finner planned to announce next week "some additional steps" the city will take to address rising crime in Houston.
"It's going to take all of us working together to have a very safe city," Turner said.
This year is off to a deadly start for police throughout the country after 2021 had already been recorded as the deadliest year for law enforcement.
It trumped even 2020, which saw a summer of violence after George Floyd was killed by a police officer and activists called for defunding police departments.
President Joe Biden, as a candidate, had joined the calls for a re-imagining of police and accountability before backing off later in the campaign. Biden then attempted to blame then-President Donald Trump and Republicans for calls to defund the police.
But Trump had run for president in 2016 and served on a platform calling for an end of the "war on police."
And last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that the surge of violence in a number of U.S. cities is due to the "underfunding" of police.
Two New York Police Department officers, 22 and 27, were shot and killed by a felon earlier this month. The city's new mayor, Eric Adams, a Democrat and former NYPD officer, ran on a crime-fighting platform. Manhattan's new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, immediately issued a memo to soften prison sentences for criminals, a move that had New York conservatives calling for his ouster.
It has yet to be addressed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat.
Newsmax's Eric Mack contributed to the first reports on this story and this final report.
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